Learning Languages in Cyberspace: A case study of world languages programs in state virtual public schools
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Learning foreign languages has not been a priority of U.S. K-12 education. National enrollment rate in World Languages courses remains low due to lack of funding, course offerings, and qualified teachers. The rapid development of virtual education in recent years provides potential solutions to challenges faced by World Languages programs but stakeholders also question the effectiveness of the virtual classroom. This mixed-methods case study provides an overview of World Languages programs in state virtual public schools nationwide and examines specifically North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) and its World Languages program. Analyzing the course offerings, enrollment pattern and enrollment changes of the NCVPS World Languages program over the last decade, the study finds that the program has made less commonly taught foreign languages more accessible to students and has benefited students from rural school districts in its initial years. The survey responses of NCVPS World Languages teachers along with four expert interviews reveal that the online program enjoys more resources such as private donation and partnership with universities compared to face-to-face classrooms. Many teachers expressed that the online and part-time nature of the program give them great flexibility. Analysis of teacher survey response also finds that holding students accountable is among the greatest challenges of virtual learning. Teacher opinions are mixed regarding whether learning a language online is better than learning in face-to-face classrooms.
CitationZhou, Yue (2018). Learning Languages in Cyberspace: A case study of world languages programs in state virtual public schools. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18347.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers